Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Parks

Dogs in Parks

We welcome dogs in the Dane County Park System at our off-leash dog parks and on-leash throughout the Dane County Park System. A dog permit is required for all dogs, including service animals. Owners/handlers are responsible for the actions of their dog and are liable under Wisconsin State Statute 174.02 (1) for injuries caused by their dog. 

Purchase a Dog Permit     Dog Park Rules     Frequently Asked Questions

1. Off-leash Dog Parks

Dane County Parks is a national leader in the development of off-leash dog parks. We now have eight off-leash dog parks, totaling 268 acres, each with its own unique features and terrain. A permit is required in order to bring your dog to a dog park within the Cooperative Dog Park Program which includes: Dane County Parks, City of Madison Parks, City of Sun Prairie Parks and City of Middleton Parks. You must have a dog license from your municipality to purchase a Dane County Dog Permit. An Annual Dog Park Cleanup is held on the 1st Saturday in April each year. 

Credit Steve Dalhlgren - Dog Grin PhotographySteve Dahlgren (Dog Grin Photography)

Visit a Dane County Dog Park:

2. On-leash in the Park System

A dog permit also allows you to access all Dane County Park System lands for on-leash hikes with your pup with the following requirements and exceptions:

  • Dogs must have a valid dog permit.
  • Dogs must be leashed and restrained by a 6-foot static leash. E-Collars are not allowed as leash alternatives in Dane County Parks and park users may be fined $169.00 for having their dog off-leash if not in an off-leash dog park.  
  • Dogs are not allowed in designated beach areas at Goodland, Mendota, or Stewart Lake County Parks.
  • Dogs are not allowed on groomed cross-country ski or snowmobile trails.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the boardwalk portion of the Lower Yahara River Trail.
  • During hunting season (on select properties) you and your dog should wear blaze orange. Visit our Park Use During Hunting Season webpage for more information.
Find a Park

3. Camping with Dogs

Campsite reservations in a campground include a complimentary daily dog permit good for the duration of the stay. A complimentary dog permit is not included in group camp reservations. Learn more about camping in Dane County Parks on our Camping webpage.


4. Off-leash Hunting

Dogs can be off-leash and do not require a dog permit in Dane County Wildlife Areas ONLY if they are actively being used for hunting during a designated Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Department (WDNR) hunting season. If not being used for hunting, dogs must have a valid dog permit and be leashed with a 6-foot static leash at all times.

During hunting season you and your dog should wear blaze orange. Visit our Park Use During Hunting Season webpage for more information.

Find a Wildlife Area